Phil’s Phobias, Urticating Caterpillars and the Gun Debate

One of the joys of publishing written diatribe for public consumption is the comments and feedback from the… internet. Consider this recent example.

Phil from Australia writes…

I’m glad I live in Australia, with controlled gun ownership, where all guns must be locked away. EG. I read a story where a 3 year old boy shoots himself…….go figure.

Well there you have it. A random anecdote trumps decades of factual data, at least in Phil’s mind.

But when you step back and look at a comment like this, it just illustrates the real challenge behind the gun debate. You see, Phil is not alone. Think about how many people have their views about gun policy shaped by random “I heard that…” anecdotes.

I heard about a shark attack once. But that didn’t stop me from taking showers. For long.(Tweet This)

If one invests about four minutes to research the gun debate, it becomes pretty darn clear that guns themselves aren’t the driving issue for crime. Gun ownership is way up. Crime is way down. When folks aren’t robbed of their rights of self-protection, crime falls. Accidents are at an all time low. The vast majority of gun-related crime involves convicted felons. Guns are used far, far more frequently to prevent people from getting hurt than for hurting people. Let me repeat that.

Guns are used far, far more frequently to prevent people from getting hurt than for hurting people. (Tweet This)

In other words, a rational look at the data to examine the pros and cons of gun use yields a clear result. Guns save lives.

So what has so much power to trump decades of historical data and cause people to hold so dearly to viewpoints that have no basis in fact?

Hint: It’s fear.

You see, the power of fear is mind-bottling. You know, just like Chazz Michael Michaels so eloquently explained. “You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?”

Phil is a perfect example of the power of the fear mentality.

You see, Phil lives in a country where children are 94.3 times more likely to be eaten by a crocodile than win a regional spelling bee.

Well, maybe I made that statistic up, but I’m sure it’s happened at least once, so that pretty much settles the argument.

Conclusion? If you don’t want to become croc-lunch, practice spelling the word “insouciant.”

I decided to consult famed behavioral psychiatrist, Dr. Emil Shuffhausen, to explore Phil’s case further. Based on preliminary analysis, there are a number of other things that frighten Phil.

Australian Phil's Fears

Australian Phil’s Fears

 At risk of causing Phil more undue stress, I want to point out some other hazards of living in Australia.

  • 715 people died tripping, slipping and stumbling, which makes one think Fosters Beer should be locked away.
  • 26 Australians fell off chairs to their earthly end. Consider working in the Lotus position. Yoga is all the rage right now.
  • 58 people died just falling out of bed, although there are not footnotes on which activity immediately proceeded these tragic accidents.
  • Australians are equally susceptible to death from human bites as dog bites. No comment.
  • More venomous arthropod warning signs might be in order, as urticating caterpillars are more likely to kill than crocodile attacks or earthquakes.

But here’s the thing. People like Phil aren’t really concerned with all these other potential hazards. Why?

Fear dominates attitude towards guns because people don’t assign any potential benefits to gun ownership – they only consider the negatives. (Tweet This)

That’s right. When subconsciously evaluating the cost / benefit of various life activities, which might kill us, people always consider the benefit side of the equation for things like swimming, walking, sitting, sleeping and even keeping pet urticating caterpillars. Yes, any of these activities can be lethal, but that’s OK because a larger upside is perceived to balance the risks.

We all just assume there are plenty of benefits to sleeping, sitting and caterpillar husbandry, right? (Tweet This)

So Phil, and others like you: Be intellectually honest about the debate. There are always two sides to any decision. Even a fart has benefits, so consider the other side of the scale before opining on gun control.

Oh, and Phil. One more thing. Nine people died in Australia last year as a result of horse-drawn vehicle incidents.

I sure am glad I live in a country with controlled horsepower transportation, where New York’s new Mayor is banning horse-drawn carriage tours. (Tweet This)

 

Be sure to check out our book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Be sure to check out our newest book, The Rookie’s Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S

The Rookie’s Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S

Boiling Frogs, Gun Allergies and How To Influence Enemies

Starbucks gun debate

Having spent decades in the marketing field trying to convince people to buy things they don’t want, I get it.

I get that people become acclimated to ideas and new concepts as a result of continued exposure. So when open carry advocates claim that their aim is to desensitize the public to the presence of guns, I understand the logic. Look how well it’s working with the gutting of our Constitution.

Bend a fundamental rule of law here and there and before you know it, you can achieve some real progress! (Tweet This)

What I don’t understand is the rationale behind an “instant desensitization” strategy by staging “in your face” open carry gun parties in an attempt to influence the non-believing community.

Let’s consider a recent example.

Starbucks had a long-standing “gun policy” of… following local laws. If local law allowed open carry, fine. If local law allows concealed carry, fine. That’s a win for us folks. I don’t want businesses making individual decisions about my rights. I want them to worry about whatever their business is and to just follow the law of the land when it comes to constitutional issues. If they want to dis-invite me as a gun owner under their private property rights, that’s OK. It’s also my right to shop elsewhere.

But then idiocy reared it’s ugly head. The “other” side adopted a strategy of trying to force Starbucks to become anti-gun. Even though they were never pro-gun. They were, and are, pro-coffee. That’s it. And all it should be. Gun control proponents staged protests and media events to force Starbucks to take a political position that had absolutely nothing to do with their business. While I think that was a stupid move, I understand it. After all, they’re idiots. And desperate. Well, in fairness, they’re not all idiots. They’re just choosing to make decisions from a fear-based emotional perspective. Like NBC executives.

In response, some in the pro-gun community decided that the right defense was to be offensive. So they staged “Bring your arsenal to Starbucks” days and showed up with rifles on the backs, a pistol or twelve and perhaps a couple of MK-19 automatic grenade launchers. Because Starbucks would be thrilled to have the Internet Ninja Militia show up in their stores, fully armed, and spend five or six bucks on some coffee.  Boy did we show them!

The response from Starbucks was predictable. While reluctant to outright ban guns, they did issue a statement that they politely request gun owners don’t carry in their stores. What did we expect?

So why did this happen?

The short answer is that our side orchestrated and achieved a colossal failure of desensitization.

Think about it.

If you’re allergic to guinea pig dander and head to your allergist for treatment, they’re probably not going to lock you in a chamber with 12,000 of the squeaky little rodents and hope you get used to it.

That would be an epic failure of desensitization and would cost a fortune in guinea pig food. Instead, the doctor will give you a weekly injection of guinea pig pheromones, in gradually increasing doses, until your body learns to cope, or you start to become romantically attracted to guinea pigs. The process may take years. Eventually, you won’t break out in hives when sharing a bowl of timothy hay with a couple of abyssinian guinea pigs.

On a similar note, I’ve yet to see a frog jump into a pot of boiling water. All the boiled frogs I know chose to desensitize themselves by jumping into nice, lukewarm crock pots. Then they would hang out, have a glass of champagne and enjoy a gradual rise in water temperature. Another classic example of gradual desensitization.

The point is simple. If you want to acclimate someone to a new point of view, you need to do it gently over time.

No one decides they like liver and onions or Season 8 of The Bachelor after just one sitting. (Tweet This)

Our unworthy opponents in favor of gun control are masters at the desensitization strategy. It’s rare to find a public spokesperson calling for outright gun confiscation. But that’s what they all want. Instead, they propose bit-sized nibbles that are digestible by the uninformed. “Let’s implement just one common sense measure to increase public safety.” Or perhaps “We agree with the right to own guns, we’re just asking for more thorough background checks.” Unless you’re whacked out on Mighty Putty fumes, you know exactly what their long-term goal is. If you are whacked out on Mighty Putty fumes, please don’t drive. Or vote.

Heck, I’m in favor of legal open carry as much as anyone. If I see someone open carrying, I know they’re generally the least of my worries. But I’ve been properly de-sensitized. But someone like Piers Morgan? Or the average Starbucks customer? Not so much.

When a business is being extorted by the anti-gunners, just stop by, dressed in your normal fashion. Buy something. And tell them you appreciate them focusing on their business – not the yahoos boycotting for their cause du jour.

Remember folks, we can be right, and still lose. Just ask Sarah Palin. (Tweet This)

2014 – The Year of 2nd Amendment Goblins, Trolls and a Few Fairies

Proving that few people have sense or good judgement, I’ve been invited to contribute articles to Bearing Arms. You might know them, along with 1.1 million other people, as 2nd Amendment on Facebook. Check them out. Subscribe. Get involved. Sign up for an Appleseed event in 2014, and better yet, bring a friend!

Here’s a link to today’s article at Bearing Arms

2014 is going to be the year of relentless attack on our Second Amendment rights.

His Royal-ness the Dishonorable Nanny-pants Bloomberg is now unemployed, and will be able to devote his full and undivided attention to helping us understand what’s best for us. We have a President in office, who, while not otherwise occupied vacationing, seems to believe that his lack of experience qualifies him to make unilateral decisions that no one else wants or agrees with. And last but not least, Vice President Grumpy McCrankyPants has not yet been distracted by a new Cracker Jacks trinket, so he’s still on a gun control rampage. Oh yeah, and Piers Morgan still lives here.

With all that looming in front of us, it’s time that everyone understands the real history of the Second Amendment.  You heard it here first folks…

A Second Amendment Fairy Tale

Once upon a time…

In a faraway land called Murrica, there was a great struggle, lasting many days and nights. You see, the settlers of Murrica were tormented by an insatiable and covetous evil troll known as George Threepence. While George lived across the great waters, in the hinterlands, he insisted on taxing the settlers with many fees and regulations. After all, he did not get the name George Threepence for his generosity.

Fed up with overzealous overdraft fees and parking tickets without representation, the villagers of Murrica were desperate to be free of the troll. They called upon a new leader, George Chiseled-Face for help. George Chiseled-Face had a plan. He knew that the good people of Murrica were well schooled in the use of magic kablooey powder and many of them maintained stores of it for their personal protection and other uses.

Without delay, George Chiseled-Face rode throughout the land of Murrica, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Militia! Militia! That means you – all you settlers of Murrica!” And it was in this way, that the people of Murrica had determined to organize themselves into a fighting force to oust George Threepence, the troll. For the people did not trust big armies like George the troll had. They preferred to call themselves up to service and yell “Militia!” with great enthusiasm as needs arose. It was most exhilarating!

Using their wits, a collection of farm animals and copious quantities of magic kablooey powder, the good people of Murrica, led by George Chiseled-Face and many fair and white-wigged princes, fought battle after battle with troll George’s Red Socks, until finally forcing them out at home plate.

Read the rest at Bearing Arms!

5 Reasons Concealed Carry Laws Are Ridiculous

I’ve started another new venture and am writing regular columns for Bearing Arms. It’s a great source of news, opinions, and how-to info for all things shooting and Second Amendment related. You can find them on Facebook also. Here’s this weeks rant…

Gun free zones

Every day there’s something in the news about someone or other campaigning to restrict concealed carry.

For example, the newly-formed group MDASININE (Moms Demand Action Supporting Irrelevant Nonsensical Insane Nanny-like Edicts) is frequently on the warpath to shame businesses, who want nothing more than to just sell stuff, into the gun debate.

And they’re not the only ones. Federal and state officials – you may know them as bamboozlers in training – are constantly dreaming up new restrictions, laws and public proclamations. All these rules are just as ‘guaranteed’ to make us safer as the rock-solid ‘guarantees’ that health insurance will be cheaper and we can keep our own doctors.

Restrictions vary by geography. If you have a fast enough computer, you can calculate the number of restrictions by multiplying the number of politicians by the number of media microphones within a radius of 97 miles. Some examples of “no carry” restrictions include…

Restaurants. Churches. Public bathrooms. Sporting events. New York City. Political conventions (think about the number of criminals per square foot there!) Medical facilities (even though doctors kill far more innocent people than guns.) Post offices. Buffalo Wild Wings. Staples – or maybe not Staples. Schools. Movie theaters. The St. Louis Mass Transit System that delivered most people to the NRA Annual Meeting. 7-11 stores? Canada. Military bases. My house. Ha! Just kidding with ya.

I can’t for the life of me understand the logic behind restricting concealed carry to reduce crime. To believe that, you also have to believe that those who carry concealed are the root cause of crime. There’s no other way around the logic.

Not surprisingly, the concealed carry community has been proven over and over again to be the safest measurable population group around. More so than priests, active duty police officers, Hollywood intelligentsia, politicians and Amanda Bynes. The crime rate of Mayors Against Illegal Guns membership (sorry, I meant Mayors Against Legal Governing) is orders of magnitude more than that of concealed carry citizens. I can’t prove this, but I hear you have to provide photographic evidence of extortion, fraud or preschool fight club gambling to become initiated into the exclusive MAIG crime syndicate.

A number of states have compiled data on the lawfulness of concealed carry holsters. For example, in Texas, the average citizen is 7.7 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a concealed carry holder, and 18 times more likely to commit a non-violent crime than a concealed permit holder.

Read the rest at Bearing Arms!

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: The Longest Gate

The Longest Gate - WWII Memorial Shut Down

A Government Shutdown Pop Quiz

Today’s pop quiz is a little complicated. It’s a combination of reading comprehension and true / false answers. Ready?

Government shutdown shooting range

OK, now they’ve done it. I’m really mad.

Reading Comprehension

Dick and Jane like to go shooting at a public range in the ‘Murrican National Forest. This range is completely unattended. It’s open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset and there are no employees of any kind at the facility. It’s a nice facility and Dick and Jane have fun shooting and meeting other people who like to shoot. Today, Dick brought 3 boxes of American Eagle .223 Remington Ammunition. Jane brought 3 boxes of 300 AAC Blackout ammunition. One was 110 grain, one was 135 grain and the last was 220 grain subsonic loads. When Dick and Jane arrived at the shooting range, they found a padlocked gate with a sign saying that Bert and Ernie couldn’t seem to agree on a budget, so due to lack of Federal funding, the range was closed until further notice.

Questions – Circle the correct true / false answer:

1. (True / False) Since the range is unattended, no one actually reports to work there.

2. (True / False) Since the range is unattended, some Federal employee had to violate the government shutdown order to go lock the gate to the shooting range and place signs saying that the range was closed, even though no one works there.

3. (True / False) Federal government decision-making mimics the thought processes of cement.

4. (True / False) Dick and Jane’s conspiracy theorist friend, Vladimir, is convinced that a call was placed from the White House to the folks who look after the ‘Murrican Forest Shooting Range telling them to shut the range down just to poke gun owners in the eye.

5. (True / False) The United States Senate is full of complete idiots who are an obscene embarrassment to the American way of life.

6. (True / False) Dick and Jane left the range with 6 total boxes of ammunition.

7. (True / False) Harry Reid looks an awfully lot like the fairy in Dick and Jane’s reading books.

Answer Key

1. True.

2. True.

3. False. Cement is demonstrably more intelligent.

4. False. No call was placed. Air Force 1 was dispatched late last night so the matter could be handled personally.

5. True.

6. False. Dick and Jane snuck in anyway. And collected a pile of sweet, like new, once-fired .30-06 brass to boot.

7. False. Harry Reid resembles a Garden Gnome suffering from advanced stage Mad Cow disease.

 

10 Things More Socially Acceptable On Twitter Than Gun Owners

My work day started with an inbox full of invitations to advertise on Twitter. The apparently hoplophobic, time-sucking, Miley Cyrus worshipping social media giant targeted me as a deep-pocketed Donny Deutsch while I tossed and turned with nightmares over which coffee shops to patronize.

Amanda Bynes on Twitter

Of all the garbage on Twitter, they choose to demonize gun owners? Really?

The ironic thing is that Twitter doesn’t really want my business. Even though they are sending solicitations to someone known online as @MYGUNCULTURE with a MYGUNCULTURE (DOT) COM email address they quickly change their tune when they discover I talk about… GUNS! Now there’s a shocker. How could they have known?

I decided to try out some ads to help promote my new book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting. However, Twitter rejected my advertising submission, so I wrote for clarification. I received a personalized form letter (yes, exactly) stating that my entire account is ineligible to advertise because my website has advertisements related to guns. So, according to Twitter, my budding writing business is not welcome in their advertising program. If I wasn’t so insecure to start with, that might be tough on my ego.

So I decided to do a little internet sleuthing – I’m a certified web addict after all – and find out who, or in some cases what, is more socially acceptable on Twitter than gun owners. Keep in mind, I really could care less about who or what get’s Twitter love in the list below, I just want to know where my fellow gun owners and I stand in the hierarchy of societal strata.

After explaining to my family that this was really work related, here’s a few of the random things I learned about what seems to be appropriate on Twitter:

1. The epic Tweet war between Amanda Bynes and Rhianna. Wholesome family fun at its best, assuming your family appreciates classless, tasteless, racist debate.

2. UFC advertisements. Twitter seems to have no compunctions about taking money from the UFC when they want to advertise the wholesome family activity of one guy beating another guy senseless.

Got a grudge? No problem. Just buy an ad on Twitter to handle it.

Got a grudge? No problem. Just buy an ad on Twitter to handle it.

3. If you’re ticked at the 1% corporate bogeyman, you can buy an ad on Twitter. A disgruntled customer paid Twitter to promote tweets like this one. “British Airways sucks. Don’t ever fly with them #britishairways @britishairways @british_airways.”

4. For the paltry sum of $13,000, you can have Khloe Kardashian tweet something on your behalf. It’s unclear whether it costs extra to have her tweet about guns.

5. Jezebel will teach you how to have a rocking CoreGasm. Sorry folks, this article is rated PG, so you’ll have to go to Twitter to learn more.

6. While we’re on the Jezebel topic, porn. Yep, plenty of that, but it’s OK – it’s freedom of speech and bodily contortion.

7. The #NAMBLA hashtag has far too much activity. If you’re not familiar with NAMBLA, you really don’t want to know. Trust me on that one.

8. You can find Twitter users who have named themselves “Miley Cyrus Twerking” and “Miley Twerk Cyrus.”

9. Continuing on that topic, you can find users named “Notorious Toe Cheese” and “Cement Brain”

10. The average Tweet IQ is 37.8% that of a YouTube comment.

One bright note, assuming the enemy of your enemy is your friend. China has banned Twitter, so take that.

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re less desirable to Twitter than an ad to gain 5,000 followers from the comfort of your own home. I hate to break that to you, but remember, I’m just the messenger. So don’t shoot me. That would be against Twitter policy.

Half-Cocked: What Did You Do To Get Banned?

Half-Cocked: What Did you Do to Get Banned?

President’s Gun Control Order Will Reduce Street Crime

New Gun Control Executive Orders to eliminate corporate jackings. Photo: FoxNews.com

New Gun Control Executive Orders to eliminate corporate jackings. Photo: FoxNews.com

The shooting community was stunned by two Executive Orders from the Obama administration earlier this week.

One of the proclamations effectively closes a secret loophole commonly used by street thugs, gang members, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Under current law, legally formed corporations and trust officers are able to purchase restricted firearms such as short-barreled shotguns, automatic rifles and sound suppressors. The new Executive Order mandates finger prints, background checks and local law enforcement approval of officers and trustees before these legal entities can apply for special permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Although the process is cumbersome, federally controlled and takes 6 to 12 months to complete, administration officials are convinced that low lifes and gang bangers are taking advantage.

“Fo shizzle!” whined one Crips member who declined to be identified. “I was planning a couple of jackings for sometime next spring or summer. I figured I would need to be strapped for that,  so I had my mouthpiece at the law firm of Rutherford, Collingsworth and Davenport drawing me up a Subchapter S Corporation. You need that to begin the application process for restricted firearms ya know. Obviously the benefits of limited financial liability of the partners and flexibility of taxable income distribution will benefit my fellow bangers too. Besides, the Bloods all use Limited Liability Corporations, so we didn’t want to go that route.”

Most gang members we spoke to were still in a state of shock, wondering how they were going to acquire restricted weapons now that the corporate and trust loophole is being closed. Many top 100 law firms are already planning for losses in billable revenue. “Losing thug life business is really going to hurt” moaned Commerce Winthorpe, Esquire, founding partner of the prestigious firm Winthorpe, Winthorpe and Fiddy Cent PeaceOut!, LLC. “We’re definitely going to have to cut back on complimentary mint juleps on Friday afternoons.”

Administration officials expect the measure to eliminate virtually all crime resulting from the loophole. “Today’s street thugs have gotten pretty sophisticated” explained an anonymous official. “They’ll plan a mugging 6-12 months in advance to allow time for setting up a corporation, completing the BATFE application, and waiting for agency approval to get a suppressed double deuce. The days of spontaneous jackings are long gone.”

While insiders won’t comment, many expect the next Executive Order will close the notorious non-profit museum loophole, believed to be the root cause of cannon, flintlock and gatling gun crime.

Half-Cocked: Obama Phones and Holder Guns

Half-Cocked: Obama Phones and Holder Guns